Australia’s population is continuing to grow rapidly, the latest Census data has confirmed, demonstrating why we need to plan carefully and invest in quality infrastructure, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
The 2016 Census found that Australia’s population stood at 23,401,892, up 8.8 per cent on five years earlier. Within that, the population of Greater Sydney stood at 4,823,991, up 9.8 per cent, and Greater Melbourne stood at 4,485,211, up 12.1 per cent. The fastest growth in the country was occurring in the outer suburbs of cities, such as Serpentine-Jarrahdale, south of Perth, growing 51 per cent, and Gungahlin, in northern Canberra, up 50 per cent.
Adam Carr, Director of Economics at the Australian Chamber, said: “It is critical that we plan carefully for future growth. Infrastructure investment has to be efficient so that it raises living standards, boosts productivity and prepares our cities and towns for future growth.
“This infrastructure may be costly in the short term but will clearly lead to a better quality of life down the track. Governments should work with the private sector to develop these infrastructure projects in a way that will tap into expertise and avoid putting excessive strain on public balance sheets.
“Our biggest cities are growing rapidly, which will enhance their status as global centres of commerce and enterprise. But our focus needs to be broader as well; we need to open up the rest of Australia to growth and investment.
“Without proper funding and planning, our cities are at risk of becoming overly congested. Australia risks concentrating too much of our infrastructure spending on simply dealing with congestion.
“We should not overlook the fact that many of our smaller centres are well placed for growth and for housing the industries of the future. So it is only right that businesses, households and governments consider these locations to maximise Australia’s potential.”